Everything about the Houston Texans is perplexing. Why haven't they been more successful? Why can't they turn it around?
When I sat in Reliant Stadium on Christmas Eve last year, I thought to myself that I'd love to be the guy who gets this job. Who's going to be the lucky guy to replace Dom Capers as the Texans' head coach?
I looked down on a game that was being led by the Texans heading into the fourth quarter. They were a team with a quarterback I thought was more than salvageable, a big-play wide receiver and a sprinkling of young players here and there. In my opinion, the Texans were far from the worst team in the league.
More importantly, the Texans were likely to have the first pick of a draft that would feature Reggie Bush as the top prospect. They could use that draft position, I thought, to construct the future of their franchise.
Then there's the matter of Bob McNair's deep pockets and the whole Texas mentality of bigger is better, in one of America's largest and most aggressive markets. Man, how can you not win here? They will. This will change quickly, I thought.
Well, I was wrong. The Texans are 1-4. They have the league's worst defense with the next-to-worst pass-defense and the fourth-worst run-defense. Despite having the league's fifth-ranked passer, the Texans have the third-worst offense with the league's worst running game.
They have allowed more than twice as many points as they've scored and all of their arrows seem to be pointing down, which leaves me in a state of deep confusion. I really believed the Texans had a chance to be the surprise team in the league this year.
Maybe that'll still happen, but what if it doesn't? What if this second era in Texans football is a carbon copy of the first era? Hey, the new Browns are in their third era in just eight short years and each era has produced the same result.
Trace it all back to that first pick of the draft. They had a chance to do something dramatic, but came away with a pass-rusher whose 1.5 sacks is tied for the team lead on the seventh-worst pass-rush in the league.
Here are 10 things the Jaguars have to do to beat the Texans.
- Protect the ball—The Texans should not be able to win this game if the Jaguars don't turn it over.
- Play "nickel"—Against the league's worst running game, the Jaguars should be able to emphasize pass-defense.
- Run it, run it, run it—The Jaguars' running game is beginning to hit its stride and should be able to assume control of this game.
- Or pass it, pass it, pass it—Houston is 31 against the pass. Take your pick.
- Contain Carr—He likes to get outside the pocket. That's where he does his damage.
- Respect their WRs—Andre Johnson and Eric Moulds are big-time pass-catchers. They must be held in check.
- Make them your Hatfields—Because the Jaguars would appear to be the Texans' McCoys.
- Remember Monday night—No, not the game against the Steelers, but the one between the Cardinals and Bears. Crazy things can happen.
- Dominate up front—That's where the Texans are weak. The Jaguars' two lines should seize control of this game.
- Win the QB battle—That's what closes the deal.